When considering loans, it is important to realize that borrowing for a college education involves both investment and issues of consumption.   Borrowing for your education is an investment in your “human capital” and by extension, your future.    Given that many students use other criteria for choosing a college (campus, social life, proximity to city, even perceived reputation), it’s wise to discuss and agree upon what exactly you and your family are borrowing for.

Unlike most other forms of debt, student loans are extremely hard to get rid of if you find that you can’t afford to pay them off.   Bankruptcy is not an option.  More important, too many graduates find themselves saddled with insurmountable debt as they begin their adult lives.  The possible ramifications of debt are suggested in the following list of facts from StudentDebtCrisis.org.  Please consider carefully the extent to which you and your family are willing to take on debt for an undergraduate college education.

Despite these concerns, student loans may indeed be the appropriate solution for many students, so long as the debt incurred remains manageable.   The following links describe the different types of loans offered to college students and their parents, and discusses various student loan-related issues.